We have a new boy to introduce to the class today. Everybody, this is Ian and he runs the popular parenting blog Single Parent Dad.
Ian is dad to four-year-old Max and is Play and Stay’s latest guest blogger. We’re sure you’ll all get along wonderfully.
Everyone looks forward to their holidays.
Well, perhaps not everyone. If you are Judith Chalmers they probably become a bit of a chore, however, most people will look forward to their jaunts, and count down the days to when they begin.
Life can be a bit like that. Without getting too deep, having something on the horizon that you are looking forward to can make the perceived boring “now” much more bearable.
Over my lifetime I have taken many different holidays to many different places and that have lasted for many different durations. The way in which they have been organised, played-out and their purpose has altered massively too.
The holidays in my childhood were totally out of my hands, yet totally awesome as I had nothing to do with the organising or paying side. I would just get head-deep in all the fun that was going on, like digging sandcastles on the beach, or better still, knocking down the ones that my father had laboured over.
In my youth they became all about drinking and silliness, and once that was rid from my system they became more about a break from work, and relaxation of both body and mind.
Next was going on holiday as a couple, which became all about spending quality — and by that I mean uninterrupted — time together. This became, or was to become, even more important when two became a family, and there was a little one to pack stuff for (and remember to put in the car).
Since being widowed, holidays have been about many more things; environment changes, inspiration, exploration, peace, focus, challenging the norm, and taking myself out of my comfort zone. But all these holidays have had one thing in common.
When they are done, I really feel like I really need another so I can recover.
In the early days it was because my excesses had shattered me, and a return to the norm became even more exhausting than it was before I had left.
Then it was because I would discover that no one would have done my work while I was away, neither was there a magical elf on my doorstep to greet me and deal with the mountain of washing I had returned with. These days that mountain is no smaller, granted it is made of smaller clothes, yet the summit is still lofty.
Breaks with toddlers are also beautifully exhaustive; emotionally and physically. I love going away with my boy and experiencing new people and places with him. The joy on his face is totally infectious, and there are regular happy tears on our adventures. But we do both return shattered, me much more than my ever-ready powered four-year-old of course.
Over these last summer holidays I arranged a series of short breaks, segregated by equally brief stints at home. There was a purpose to my plan — to keep our holidays fun-packed, and to make the days at home really feel like a holiday too.
Our days at home were filled with visiting places, visiting people or even hosting friends, themselves in the middle of their own holidays.
There were also fabulous, and I mean fabulous, service stops. It was like we ran the summer on two sets of clothes. One current, one washed at home waiting to be ironed, and the two would switch over at our pit-stops. It made the perceived need for another holiday diminish a little, but not fade completely.
I really just need holiday, after holiday, after holiday. Thinking about it, maybe Judith doesn’t have it so bad after all.